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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Tim Hawkins

Duckney, P., Deeks, M., Dixon, M., Kroon, J., Hawkins, T. & Hussey, P. (2017). Actin–membrane interactions mediated by NETWORKED2 in Arabidopsis pollen tubes through associations with Pollen Receptor-Like Kinase 4 and 5. New Phytologist 216(4): 1170-1180.

Author(s) from Durham


During fertilization, Pollen Receptor-Like Kinases (PRKs) control pollen tube growth through the pistil in response to extracellular signals, and regulate the actin cytoskeleton at the tube apex to drive tip growth.
We investigated a novel link between membrane-integral PRKs and the actin cytoskeleton, mediated through interactions between PRKs and NET2A; a pollen-specific member of the NETWORKED superfamily of actin-binding proteins.
We characterize NET2A as a novel actin-associated protein that localizes to punctae at the plasma membrane of the pollen tube shank, which are stably associated with cortical longitudinal actin cables. NET2A was demonstrated to interact specifically with PRK4 and PRK5 in Nicotiana benthamiana transient expression assays, and associated at discreet foci at the shank membrane of Arabidopsis pollen tubes. Our data indicate that NET2A is recruited to the plasma membrane by PRK4 and PRK5, and that PRK kinase activity is important in facilitating its interaction with NET2A.
We conclude that NET2A–PRK interactions mediate discreet sites of stable interactions between the cortical longitudinal actin cables and plasma membrane in the shank region of growing pollen tubes, which we have termed Actin-Membrane Contact Sites (AMCSs). Interactions between PRKs and NET2A implicate a role for NET2A in signal transduction to the actin cytoskeleton during fertilization.